First octo setup (pre cycle)

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by sean1, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hey just joined after lurking for almost a year! Please feel free to suggest any modifications to my build as not everything is bought yet and I want to do this right.

    I have been reading a lot and decided that I am just posting a tank build for an undecided ceph. Hopefully a pair a cuddles but would be just as happy with an octo.

    I am just about to begin the mixing and cycling my old 75gal 48.5"L x 18.5"W x 21.125"H tank with a bottom overflow. It was a reef tank a few years back that has my best lid situation while being over the 50gal minimum (for smaller species I know). Its going to need a cover for the gap on the left side and some screen work on the overflow/return. I see that foam is also suggested in conjunction with the mesh but is this a must or which would be recommended? Should this be weighted down since it does have a break with a grommet for opening?

    I will be upgraded the sump at this point to either an eshopss r200 gen2 or a homemade replica of it after living with the stock all in one noisy sump. This will probably add about 20 or so gal to the water volume I would think and give me room for a refugium to store live foods for later consumption.
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=24529

    For the skimmer will be reusing my vertex omega 150 since it is technically rated for 150gal tank and worked nicely on a heavily stocked version on this tank.http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/vertex-omega-150-protein-skimmer.html

    For lighting I have a t5 4x10k atm with some "moonlight' leds and a few othr bulb selections I have been playing around with. Is this to much for 8-12 hours a day?http://www.marinedepot.com/Coralife..._Fixtures-Coralife-ES08604-FILTFIT54U-vi.html

    I also have a mp10 that I'd like to use just for some circulation as my return just isn't quite adequate all alone. I can control it through my apex so can crank it way down.

    Next on to the apex with ph, temp, and salinity... Will control lights, pumps, power head ect.... to bad no ammonia, nitrate/nitrite probes huh, but they'd probably be ridiculous, :lol: so strips and a hanna phos checker for the rest.

    My return is rated at about 950gph I believe so decent rate of probably 5-7 full cycles/h after you deduct the overhead of tubing and what not.

    I use brs reactors, one with some carbon and another with gfo.

    Thanks for any advice and I will begin cycling the tank in about a week in hopes of obtaining a ceph is 4-6 months! I will also put a few a few smaller fish from my reef tank in just to test cycling and help in building up bacteria but will absolutely be removing them prior to his/her arrival. No copper ect has or will be used in either tank and I use ro water so no cloramines.
     

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  2. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Heres the rest
     

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  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :cuttlehi: Welcome to unlurking! You sound well on your way to starting up an excellent tank for octopuses or cuttles.

    screen or sponge (whichever works best to discourage entry and still maintain flow) are fine. The idea is to make the dark box an unattractive entry. Most larger animals will not enter the weir but very young or dwarfs find it attractive. My current O. briareus often blocks it at night (causing a tank overflow since I have only one overflow area :roll:) but never enters the box. However, I have had very young animals to end up in the sump if I don't rig something behind the grid. You will want to either fasten or weight down the tops for an octopus as they would be easily opened.

    If you use a night light, use red, not blue. Nocturnals will not likely come out with blue lighting and it may be a problem for diurnals (providing a dark sleeping den would likely resolve this but not for nocturnals).

    I don't know of any reason to use a carbon reactor with a ceph. You won't be maintaining many corals in this species tank and adding carbon dioxide will reduce the needed higher oxygen levels.
     
  4. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for responding and this is just pretty much the setup I was running a reef with minus the new sump so I never really knew carbon actually carbonated the water lol. I usually just used it for water clarity and filtration of dissolved organics as it was always recommended at the lfs and online for reefs. None of that had the oxygen requirements that these guys need so I'm glad I know now. :notworth: I will update here once I get it up and running and add some screen/sponge discouragement.

    Thanks again and once it gets going ill graph all my data, from the apex, for you guys to analyze.

    Also I know orp has alot to do with o2 levels so I might look into grabbing one used from the local forums and at least be able to detect an huge o2 swing. :wink:
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I may have "carbon reactor" confused with a "CO2 reactor" :oops: (used mostly for freshwater planted aquariums to add carbon dioxide). I use semi-passive carbon filtration (activated carbon in a filter sock) as my only chemical cleaner and if the carbon reactor serves the same purpose without adding CO2 then there should be no problem using one. My systems are very simple (lots of live rock, carbon, filter sock and a skimmer, an open sump for CO2/O2 exchange and weekly RO/DI water changes) so some of the more advanced methods are outside of my experience.

    Monitoring O2 might be give an interesting view of how the system is functioning and I will be interested to see if you detect swings.
     
  6. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Yea orp probe isn't quite the same thing as an actual o2 sensor but it should give me a good idea of a large swing in either direction if I can find one for a reasonable price.

    The carbon in a sock is virtually the same thing as a reactor, I just hate socks after my last sump and was looking for a way to use it anywhere else.
     
  7. Rhodi Hawk

    Rhodi Hawk Cuttlefish Registered

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    We're thinking we have an issue with oxygen in our tank, too, but it's hard to tell since we don't have a lot of critters. There are some damsels, and none are gulping at the surface.

    Our tank is in what we call "extended cycling" because the basic parameters are stabilized but there are some other things I want to work out with a bit more confidence before bringing in an octo. The O2 level is one of them. I've read a lot of conflicting things about what actually works for keeping 02 up. I've added a bubbler to my sump but no telling whether it's had any impact. Hope I can learn from what you find.

    I do have a dissolved oxygen test kit on order, and once it arrives, we'll probably be experimenting with what works best, too. Can compare notes. Your oxygen probe sounds more precise than a test kit, though. Didn't realize there was something like that out there. Any advice in what to look for if I were to get one?
     
  8. Rhodi Hawk

    Rhodi Hawk Cuttlefish Registered

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    BTW, by Googling "ORP" and "ORP probe", I found a whole 'nuther layer of info that had escaped me before. It helps to use the specific vocab. : )
     
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  9. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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  10. Rhodi Hawk

    Rhodi Hawk Cuttlefish Registered

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    I actually have that exact controller on my Amazon wishlist. I hope to heaven that Santa reads those things!
     
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  11. Pennyworth

    Pennyworth Wonderpus Registered

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    What are the advantages with such a controller? I couldn't really see what the advantages were to justify the price.
     
  12. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Pretty much endless for a reef tank but you can do all sorts of amazing things even with a ceph tank too. Just think.... you get a critter carrier with live mysis, in it and a dosing pump, or a solenoid driven crab version. You could could then tell it when to "dump" and watch it all on a webcam from your phone... Not to mention it can automate about every feature of your tank you can think about like water change ect. Also give you monitoring and alerts for the common parameters.

    Not trying to say you need one by any means and they are pretty expensive but it was my best investment when I had a reef tank and should come in pretty nice now.


    Edit: also I just got an invite to visit the central campus aquarium and I'm pretty excited. They apparently have a cheap way to bread mysis for their specimens which I will try to learn all I can on. Not to mention the largest high school saltwater aquarium.
     
  13. Pennyworth

    Pennyworth Wonderpus Registered

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    I'm still very new to the hobby, but when I looked at controllers I just couldn't see any advantage. I have a webcam, lights and powerheads on timers, a temperature probe, an excellent ato system etc. I couldn't really see what the controller added...most of the added functionality required the purchase of additional modules.

    It isn't plausible for me to have a controller do a water change due to space constraints...if I could get an email if there was an ammonia spike or something, that could be pretty sweet.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    @JingoFresh, check out the Seneye system. There are others out there as well but a long time TONMO member in England has started working with this company so it is the one I have seen the most.

    @sean1, PLEASE report in on the mysis technique. Keeping mysis alive (and spawning) for newly hatched cuttlefish is something we have not been able to get a good grip on and any new techiniques would be most welcomed.
     
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  15. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    That thing is sweet! The kelvin, par, lux and nh3 would be awesome...@neptunecontrollers.... lol. Yea and @JingoFresh the main reason I got my controller was to avoid another heater meltdown. It worth the peace of mind to me just for that and knowing I can expand on later if need be. Reefkeeper also makes a decent one that can do ph and temp for a much more reasonable price, 100$ I think, that will shutoff your heater if it gets stuck in the on position. Hey @DWhatley can that the seneye reef control a powerstrip and shut off or adjust frequency? That and the monthly charge for connectivity are the main difference I see between the mainstream controllers and this guy. Have you tried floating it in a ceph tank :sink: ?

    As for the mysis breeding I was talking to a friend that's been there recently and he said they use rubermaid containers about 3-4in in depth with and unknown size strainer at the bottom which traps them constantly above it.. Then just remove everything large with it and change the water daily after dumping the remaining little guys through yet a smaller strainer, and then back into another rubermaid. All on a huge scale of course but I feel like there is something I'm missing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    @sean1 I don't have the Seneye system. I have too many tanks to monitor :roll:. My tanks are pretty simple affairs and I let the LR do much of the work (except lugging the water for the weekly water changes and top offs) :grin:

    So far the best luck I have had with mysis is to put them in a bio-orb with live rock and an air ring (no other filtration), change half the water once a month(ish) and feed them twice a day with either frozen rotifers or daphnia. I have managed to keep a few alive for well over a month. Not enough survive to use as food for cuttles but this is far better than anything else I have tried.
     
  17. sean1

    sean1 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    So they were doing a group order from LA and I got in and decided to test some feeder shrimp out... With minimal success in my 12gal nano. The size and seemingly only postmortem cannibalization were my main reason for trying them out as possible cuttle food. Seems like the excessive water flow of this nano, I picked up used and with a pump upgrade I think, keeps them out of the water column and the overflows are just big enough to suck them in. Would these even be a viable food for baby cuttles?

    I think now I should have listened to their recommendation of a 5gal bucket + an airstone lol.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Grass shrimp are good food for adult cuttles but have not worked with hatchlings (I HAVE fed them to very young octopuses with success but not until the octos were slighly larger than the shrimp). They are difficult to breed but do keep easily in a 10 gallon. Your 12g nano should have been fine but they do tend to get into any overflow. I keep them in an old fashioned, cheap 10 gallon with an area sectioned off with an inexpensive simple plastic mesh divider and keep live rock scraps in the small divided section and have an in-tank filter/areator for oxygenation and waste removal. I change out a couple of gallons a month and feed daily. With the last batch I also added a couple of small saltwater crabs to scavenge left over food and they lived for months. Ultimately I fed out the remaining but expected they would have continued to survive until a normal old age death. I MAY have had a couple of hatchlings survive (based on size when I emptied the remainder into the cuttle tank) but definitely not enough to keep a population going.

    Freshwater ghost shrimp are supposed to be easy to raise (it is unlikely you have the physical space to raise a major food supply) but my one attempt was a dismal failure. They are close in nutritional value to their saltwater cousins and have been used as a primary food for cuttlefish (but, again, not hatchlings).
     
  19. Rhodi Hawk

    Rhodi Hawk Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hey there, Sean1. Circling back to the matter of oxygen, have you had a chance to tinker and determine whether your levels are what you want?

    I finally got my little test kit in and my tank did appear to be on the low end. Not bad, though. Sister Golden Tail Surprise (our damsel fish) never gulped at the surface or anything, but our levels were at a 6 when the ideal would have been a 7 or 8, and octos of course are better off at the higher end.

    I've since been experimenting with ways to boost the O2 and testing along at each attempt. Nothing I tried has had any impact: bubbler in sump, chaetomorpha in fuge, other plants in tank (and fuge), and using phytonutrients to boost 'pod populations. Parameters have remained stable for pH, ammonia, and nitrites/trates with the exception of a bump in nitrates when adding the phyto slurries, though that has since stabilized. Other than that, I haven't added anything to the tank--no buffers or dosing of any kind. No one in there except Sister and a host of small inverts. Have also tested at various times of day, as well as testing while light was on for 1+ hour and then off for 1+ hour.

    Anyway, the iterative but fruitless experiments continued for a few weeks until I finally just walked off in a huff. Now, after doing nothing but a weekly water change over the holidays, the oxygen is reading at 7-- up a full point. How very cute. (Not!)

    A few other notes:
    • The test kit
      I don't actually know whether my test kit is even worth a dern, nor have I any faith in my ability to compare clear pink water to printed pink blocks on card stock. The pink water never seems to match any of those blocks! However, even though I may not be picking the correct color on the scale, it's probably safe to say that the color has intensified, which indicates that the oxygen levels, whatever they truly are, are denser.
    • New tank
      My tank is in "late cycle stage", which means that it actually finished cycling months (and months) ago and has since been fit for fish, inverts, etc. But it's still a new tank. Maybe it's just one of those things where the longer it runs, the greater the ability to support oxygen densities, other gas exchanges, and better living through biochemistry. :)
    • Clumsy water changes
      I've sometimes let my saltwater mix sit for 1-5 days before using it to change tank water. I don't know what the true limit is on letting a salt / RODI mixture sit around before it's growing bacteria and is no longer suitable for the tank-- or whether it has impact on O2.
    • Skimmer died
      We had a protein skimmer that died of old age a couple of weeks ago, right around the time I was adding plants. While the O2 levels didn't seem to be impacted one way or another, it's possible that we'd have seen a bump in O2 sooner if the skimmer had been spinning the entire time.
    • Circulation
      Circulation in my tank is concentrated at the surface. There are probably stagnant zones toward the base of the live rock. Once I improve circulation in there it may also impact oxygen density.
    So on the whole, I still have absolutely no idea how to regulate oxygen levels in my tank, but it may just be one of those things that works itself out on its own. If you've discovered anything on your end I'd love to hear about it.
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I can't offer suggestions as I have never texted O2 but please keep posting your experiments and results (or lack there of). Is your sump open top or covered?

    One new test would be to add an air stone to your saltwater holding tank. I always did this for the seahorses (back when I kept them) and still continuously run some form of mixing pump or aeration in the holding tanks (I have two). I have never been sure this has been of value so it you experiment, please post the results :sagrin:
     

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